Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm Thankful

November is the month of giving thanks, so I thought I’d tell you all what I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful I didn’t kill someone.

Two and a half months ago, my computer black-screened. I turned it on and got nothing. So I took it into a tech guy. He spent a day checking it out and then said he could save all my data, clean up the computer, and put the data back on – or, since my computer would probably die within a year, he could get me a new laptop and put everything on it. I opted for the new computer. During that time, I called him during office hours several times and he didn’t pick up. I left messages and he never called me back. He called me one time. The only way I could get him to talk to me was to show up in his office and stand in front of his desk.

I’m thankful I didn’t go kung-fu on his behind. (And am thinking I should possibly learn some kung-fu.)

He loaded some, but not all of my data. He put Palm on my computer, but none of the years of info I had input. And now I can’t sync the Palm on my computer with my handheld Palm because my handheld is so old it’s not compatible with the new laptop. So, I’m now putting it all on Microsoft Outlook, one contact at a time. That’s approximately 1000 entries.

I’m thankful I didn’t bop him over the head when he started his one and only phone call to me with “As I told you last time I called…”

He did not load my Microsoft Suite, but instead loaded Microsoft Starter, which only works in compatibility mode and expires in 30 days, and when I try to open a document, just whirs and whirs and won’t open unless I first open the program then ask it to open the document.

I’m thankful for my iPhone and iPad, which I used to try to keep up with email and my weekly newsletter. I’m thankful for my husband’s computer, which I could use when he was out of town. I’m thankful for friends who sympathized with me and called to remind me of meetings or appointments. And I’m even thankful for the tech guy being still alive. And me being not in jail.

What are you thankful for?
 Helen Ginger is an author, blogger, freelance editor and writing coach. She teaches public speaking as well as writing and marketing workshops. In addition, her free ezine, Doing It Write, which goes out to subscribers around the globe, is now in its twelfth year of publication. You can follow Helen on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn. Helen is the author of 3 books in TSTC Publishing’s TechCareers series.

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  1. Isn't it amazing that most techie types seem to suffer from severe deafness? They can't seem to hear a thing we say — or hear the telephone. Do you suppose it's job related?

    By the way, I'm thankful for relatives who know a lot more about computers that I do. Sometimes they even listen to me.


  2. Linda, there are times when I think everyone knows more about computers than I do. My son certainly does.

  3. I am thankful that when our computer crashed a few months ago, we did better than you did...although my husband is still pulling out his hair over the I-Tunes account.

  4. Hi Helen!

    Oh, that's one thing that would have totally flipped me out. Fortunately, my husband is my tech guy. I know where to find him! Ha!

  5. I would've killed him! That is bad computer repair. I'm thankful I know how to do most repairs and upgrades so I'm not at the mercy of a repairman I might have to kill.

  6. So, somewhere out there is a faux computer tech who is living on borrowed time ... sounds like he's the one who should be thankful.

  7. I'm thankful for external hard drives that save all my work.

  8. As a writer--and techie--I might have a slightly different take on this all-too-familiar saga. The real take-away lesson should be that responsible writers should never be without current backup of everything on their computers. Backup is like brushing your teeth, seeing your doctor or dentist, eating your veggies, wearing a coat when you go out into the snow. It's what responsible adults do.

    Computers die, software crashes, and technology becomes obsolete. This is just how things work in the real world. It's all too easy to blame the tech support person who fails to miraculously, instantly, and graciously rescue us from our own failures--our failure to plan ahead, to have a fallback plan, to have a usable and accessible copy of everything on our computers.

    The outpouring of sympathy for Helen--and the vilification of the evil, incompetent, hard-of-hearing techie--is understandable. We've all been there at one time or another, hoist by our own petard, ready to vent at anyone and everything.

    However, even though I risk becoming a target for more rants against techies, I am only the messenger. If your work matters to you, if it's important, then you always have one or more backups that enable you to quickly get back up and running when your computer crashes--because it will, sooner or later, it will.

    Maybe we don't like to hear that, but that's the real message. It may be gratifying to blame and comforting to get sympathy, but I would rather that we all learn from Helen's story.

    Sorry, but that's how I see it.

    --Larry Constantine (Lior Samson)

  9. I've seen on various blogs the question who would you push over a cliff if you could get away with it? This repairman sounds like just the candidate!

  10. I can understand your frustration. The tech people I've worked with are great and I could not work without them, but, for all their understanding of electronics and code, they don't understand how I work and the policies that govern how I work. spend a lot of time educating them on my needs before I can count on their service. The commercial tech people are the most frightening for me, because we don't have a history. I'm thankful for the tech folks who have worked with me for years on my projects and understand what I need.

  11. Linda, most of the deaf people I know are my age group and it's a result of loud rock-n-roll music from the 60s and 70s. I'm guessing the younger kids are just ignoring most of us because they are tired of RAISING THEIR VOICES TO BE HEARD! Could that be? The back-up point is taken - should we have a month of tech posts for handicapped writers? Or something like that? Helen, that man you hired would be buried had he been in my life. I think you deserve a halo... you didn't even mention his name and phone number in your post! :D

  12. Ahh, Liza, I totally forgot about iTunes!

    Diane, I am backing up and I'm about to sign up with an auto online backup.

    You're right, Larry. It was my responsibility for backing up. That was a big part of the problem. I still don't think it should have taken two and a half months.

    No, Dani, I don't intend to mention his name. I don't plan to ever go back to him, either.

  13. Well, doggone. That tech person is definitely doing well to being alive.

    I can commiserate with you to a certain extent. My computer, Outlook no less, became corrupted and the rest of the computer obtained a nasty virus. I still don't know that they aren't related.

    Fortunately, I was able to get the computer AND all my info back. I was SO relieved! It took them 3 long days, but thank God for the geek squad of Best Buy!

  14. I think as we all become more dependent on our devices, there will be more crimes of rage against bad techs. It might end up being one of those jobs where you get hazardous duty pay.
    Glad you're not in jail.

  15. Katie, I'm being forced to learn Outlook. I say "forced" because for about ten years I've used my Palm for contacts and calendar, but now my new computer is too advance for my old Palm. I'm one-by-one moving all contacts over.

    Susan, if I were to start a family now, I'd push one kid to become a computer whiz.

  16. I'm thankful for auto backup and walking into BestBuy, coming out with a new computer an hour later. :)
    You've had such a terrible road to drag down these past weeks, Helen! I'd say that guy is lucky to be alive.

  17. I believe all of us can sympathize with both Helen and Larry on this. I'm thankful that my son worked at an Apple store and can advise me on my own computer quandaries!

    As for tech gratitude, I am most thankful for the "delete" key, lol.

  18. I cringe whenever I hear stories like this, mainly because it may have been possible to save the PC (My other job is pc repair). He may have been more interested in selling a new PC than repairing the old one as it's more profitable.

    If your computer dies, remove the hard drive and with about £20/$30 you can turn it into an external hard drive and keep all your data.

    Did he give you the hard drive back? Go and get it if not.

  19. Oh wow--talk about FRUSTRATING! It drives me nuts when so-called 'experts' are anything bt...especially with all the important stuff we keep on our computers. I am so grateful to have a hubby who has some IT in his background. He's saved my stuff more than once!

    Angela@ The Bookshelf Muse

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  21. Legacy Laptops with Windows 95 or DOS for sale. With serial port, floppy and hard drive.

  22. What an ordeal. So sorry you had to go through this, Helen. I am so thankful that I have all the tech support I need in my family. I am not at the mercy of someone who isn't listening, although I do have to remind them at time to keep it simple for this non-techie person.


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